The last international break of the 2021-22 football campaign has come and gone, and the best part was that no one got hurt for Tottenham Hotspur before the big stretch run.
International breaks have not been friendly to Tottenham Hotspur this season. Entering the first international break in early September, Spurs were unbeaten and in first place in the league. By the time of the second stoppage of play in mid-October, Spurs were in eighth place, and the international break had a lot to do with the Tottenham problems.
The first break broke Nuno’s Tottenham
Spurs suffered three straight losses after the first break by a combined score of 1-9, and many of the issues could be rightfully linked to the holiday. That first break was when governments still cared about Covid-19, and quarantines kept Spurs’ South American contingent from playing in the losses.
The disruption of the quarantine set Nuno Espirito Santo’s side on a path toward Nuno’s exit. By the time the third break arrived in November, Antonio Conte was the coach of Tottenham.
The second break cost Spurs Romero
During the November international break, the scenario for at least one South American superstar got much worse. Cristian Romero, one of the marquee signings of the summer, injured his hamstring with Argentina. Romero’s injury was unknown; however, after missing the better part of the subsequent three months, it was a severe injury.
After returning, Romero had only played two matches under Conte and then took several games to get back to his top level. The loss of Romero for three months definitely cannot be overstated in terms of the significance on the team. While Davinson Sanchez played well most of that time, an injury to Eric Dier made Romero’s absence even worse in early 2022.
The season would likely be very different if Spurs had Romero all winter, but we should be thankful the Argentine is back and healthy now.
January break cost Spurs Skipp
As if losing Romero for an extended period was not bad enough, Oliver Skipp initially injured his groin on international duty with the England youth set-up. Skipp returned early and tried to tough it out against Chelsea in the League Cup quarterfinals. We have not seen Skippy in a Spurs shirt sense, and the team has suffered mightily for it.
It was a pity for Skipp, who was growing under Conte, and we hope he can return before the season is over as there is a big stretch ahead for Tottenham.
The good news is that this March break did not seem to bring about any new injuries, although there are some questions around Ben Davies returning early from the Wales team. Ultimately, if there was one break for Spurs not to suffer any injuries, this was the one. With nine matches over 50 days starting Sunday, all hands are on deck for Spurs, and hopefully, all hands will be available.